If you want to buy a home, take a loan out for a new car or even rent an apartment, you need to have good credit. Yes, you can request a free credit report from the three credit bureaus, but you can only get one free report per year.
And most credit monitoring services – which allow you to see your score at any time – charge monthly fees.
How can you stay on top of your score without spending a small fortune, or waiting a year? CreditWise.
What is CreditWise?
Created by Capital One, CreditWise is a free service that allows you to monitor your credit. Users can view their TransUnion VantageScore 3.0 credit score at any time using this service.
Along with your score, CreditWise also:
- Helps you understand your score by pinpointing key factors that affect your score. CreditWise tells you how your score is calculated and how you compare to the average American.
- Sends email alerts whenever your report changes, including delinquent accounts and recent inquiries.
- Helps you protect your credit. The service monitors your Social Security Number and scans the dark web. You get automatic alerts from two credit bureaus if something suspicious pops up.
With CreditWise, you can only view your credit report from TransUnion, and you can only see your TransUnion VantageScore 3.0 score. Some may see this as a drawback, but you can easily obtain a free report from the other credit bureaus once per year.
The CreditWise platform also offers a simulator that helps you determine the potential impact of your financial decisions before you even make them.
So, if you decide to take out a new credit card or mortgage, the simulator can show you the potential impact on your credit score.
What is the Difference Between the CreditWise Score and a FICO Score?
CreditWise uses a different score model than FICO. CreditWise actually uses the TransUnion VantageScore 3.0 model.
While technically different, both scores are based on similar factors that lenders want to know about before making a lending decision. These factors include:
- The age of your credit accounts
- Your payment history
- Recently opened loan and credit accounts
- Credit utilization
- Recent inquiries
- Available credit
How Does Their Credit Simulator Work?
With CreditWise’s score simulator, you can see how financial decisions may impact your credit score, such as:
- Opening a new credit card
- Paying off a balance
- Making a late payment
You can even get an estimate of how much of a down payment you’ll need to buy a home in your price range.
The simulator is a great tool that you can use in making financial decisions.
Is CreditWise Really Free?
Yes. CreditWise is a free service, and you can cancel your account at any time. Simply click the “Cancel My Account” link on the “Settings” page. It may take Capital One up to 45 days to process the request.
CreditWise never asks you for credit card information, and there is no trial period. The service is 100% free, and you don’t even need a Capital One account to use it.
Is CreditWise Secure?
In a world where identity theft is all too common, it’s natural to be concerned about your personal data.
With CreditWise, your data is encrypted with 256-bit Transport Layer Security, or TLS. This level of encryption ensures that your information is only seen by you and the company’s secure systems.
How Often Can You Check Your Score?
Like other free credit monitoring services, you can use CreditWise to check your score as often as you want. The company refreshes your score and report every week.
Your credit score can change at any time, so it’s important to stay on top of these changes. Monthly checks may be okay for those who are in “maintenance” mode, but if you’re trying to pay down debt or repair your credit ahead of a major purchase, weekly checks are necessary.
What Information is Needed for an Account?
If you plan to open a CreditWise account, you’ll need to give some personal information. This includes:
- Name, phone number, address
- Social Security Number
- Email address
Once you’ve created an account, you can log in at any time to monitor your credit.
Who Can Sign Up for an Account?
Many credit card companies are now offering credit monitoring services, but many of them require users to be credit card holders. Capital One’s CreditWise is different.
Anyone can sign up for a CreditWise account – even people who are not Capital One customers. There are only two account requirements:
- You must be over the age of 18.
- You must have a Social Security Number that can be matched to a TransUnion profile.
Will CreditWise Hurt My Credit Score?
No. It is a common misconception that using credit monitoring services will hurt your credit score. You can use all of CreditWise’s features without putting a dent in your score.
How? The company uses a soft credit check, which won’t affect your score. A hard check, like the one that’s performed when applying for a loan, can affect your score.